TV on DVD: All the 'Doctor Who' fans in (Doctor) Whoville should like Christmas a lot
"Whoville" probably conjures a very specific scene this time of year, with the Grinch ready to unleash all the rotten tricks in his two-sizes-too-small heart on the citizens of Dr. Seuss's Christmassy land, as is his annual tradition.
But fans of the British sci-fi classic "Doctor Who" may think of Whoville as a different happy place this holiday season, with BBC Home Video's release of the "Doctor Who Limited Edition Gift Set."
The hefty collection -- with 41 discs and some very collectible goodies -- contains the first six seasons of the series that was relaunched in 2005, meaning the seasons with Doctors nine (Christopher Eccleston), 10 (David Tennant), and 11, which is the current Doctor, played by Matt Smith.
Each of the seasons (series, as they're called in Brit TV land) was released previously as an individual set and includes bonus materials like audio commentaries with cast and crew; video diaries by David Tennant, Matt Smith, and Billie Piper; deleted scenes, BBC promos; "Doctor Who Confidential" featurettes on individual episodes; DVD-exclusive episode prequels; and, in the Season 5 set, "Meanwhile in the Tardis," show runner Steven Moffat's new scenes, filmed just for the DVDs, that reveal what happens between episodes.
The collectible goodies are true gems for 'Who'-vians: three original 6.5-by-10-inch art cards, each featuring one of the three Doctors and his companions (including Smith with his cowboy hat); the "Doctor Who at Comic Con" comic book (where the Doctor reveals that Jane Austen wasn't a good kisser); and a Sonic Screwdriver, 11th-Doctor style.
The gift set also includes a disc with three "Doctor Who" specials making their DVD debut, including "The Women of Doctor Who," "The Timey-Wimey of Doctor Who," and "The Destinations of Doctor Who," three of the four specials BBC America aired before the September premiere of "Doctor Who" Season 7.
Unless you're a "Who" fan already in possession of the individual season releases, the gift set is a fantastic chance for a marathon viewing experience of the transitions of new Doctors and their companions. Can you imagine any other TV drama that could so successfully change the leads and supporting cast as many times as "Doctor Who" has?
Speaking of new companions, the "Doctor Who Limited Edition Gift Set" is not the only holiday treat for "Who" fans this year. The annual "Doctor Who" Christmas special -- the year's episode is "The Snowmen" -- will feature the debut of Jenna-Louise Coleman as Clara, the Doctor's new traveling partner.
Clara has her work cut out for her in the Christmas Day episode, as a heartbroken Doctor -- following his loss of Amy and Rory -- has given up on saving the world, just as the evil Doctor Simeon (guest star Richard E. Grant) plots to ruin the holiday with the help of an army of snowmen.
Watch the "Doctor Who" Christmas Special Prequel Mini Episode:
Watch the trailer for the "Doctor Who" Christmas Special, "The Snowmen":
"The Snowmen" premieres Tuesday, 12/25 at 9 PM on BBC America.